Thursday, February 24, 2011

I need your help again. I'm feeling the pressure to get everything in order before this baby comes and I know the more things I get out of the way now, the less I will have to worry/think about when I'm in labor or trying to figure out the logistics of a diaper. I've been reading a lot about packing for the hospital and it is something I definitely do not want to put off until the last minute. Thing is, and maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about here, but most of the packing lists seem a bit, well, ridiculous. Do I really need to lug around so much stuff?

Here's what one list suggests:

Birth Plan
Insurance Card and Hospital Paperwork
Socks (But I'm already packing slippers.)
Eyeglasses, if you need them
Hairbrush (Don't even own one.)
Lip Balm
Nonperishable snacks and drinks
Massage oils or lotions (What, am I going to a spa?)
Extra pillow
Relaxation materials: books, movies, games, music
Pictures of someone or something you love (REALLY?!)
Lucky charm of some sort (Now they've really lost me.)
Nursing bras
Breast pads
Maternity underwear (ummm... what?)
Nursing nightgown or pajamas
Address book (Do people even use these anymore?)
Roomy going home outfit
Infant car seat
Outfit for baby's trip home

Call me cuckoo, but this seems overwhelmingly excessive. I am the girl who packed a carry-on and NOTHING ELSE when she went to Europe on her honeymoon for two weeks. So, what did you pack? Or, what are you planning on packing? If you've already been through this process, are there things you really didn't need to pack? Is there anything you wished you would have packed? I'd hate to go unprepared but at the same time, it's not like I'm moving into the hospital.


  1. I didn't use anything while in the hospital, except for my comb, toothpaste/toothbrush, and shampoo/conditioner. I made my life easy and stuck with the hospital gown, hospital socks/slippers, hospital undies until it was time to go home. Most people feel uncomfortable, but it was perfectly fine more me :) I don't see why you would even need a bra or breast pads in the short time you're in the hospital. you're feeding that baby constantly and your milk doesn't come in for a few days, so having no bra is nice and pads aren't necessary. You'll definitely need a car seat though and a baby outfit :) if you want a birth plan, it's good to have that too.

    All the best to you!

  2. *oops, i meant to say "find with me" not "fine more me." brainfart... still recovering from pregnancy brain. i guess now it's lackofsleepnewbornallthetimecan'tfuntionlikeanormalhumanbeing brain.

  3. haha, see, i did it again. i think by now you know what i meant to say. sorry to take up so much of your comment section. i'll shut up now :P

  4. If everything goes accordingly, you will only be in the hospital for about one day. I had a huge bag of stuff and didn't use anything, but I would have been bummed if I had decided I did want something that wasn't there. Do you have a friend who would be willing to go to your house and bring you something if you decided you wanted it?

  5. Anything you think is weird (like the good luck charm & address book) you can probably nix. The essentials really seem to be clothes for you & baby to go home in, the car seat, & insurance papers. Everything else just sounds like suggestions to make sure you're comfortable while you're there.

  6. Yea, that's a unnecessary long list. Also, the longer you can labor at home, the shorter you'll be in the hospital getting bored and needing extra stuff. I'd shorten it to this:

    Birth Plan (if you have one)
    Insurance Card and Hospital Paperwork
    Lip Balm (this is great to have, hospitals dry your shit out)
    Nonperishable snacks and drinks (this is nice, but by no means necessary. a few pieces of fruit and some trail mix work)
    Phone charger
    Comfy going home outfit (it can be the same one you showed up in, you'll probably want to get out of anything that reminds you of the hospital once you are home. also, the hospital usually sends you home with a couple of *nice* mesh underwear things that have a built in pad)
    Infant car seat
    Outfit for baby's trip home

  7. dude.

    sometimes you want to wear socks in bed, but not slippers.

    if it were me i would be down with over packing. you have never given birth before, you don't know what you will want/need, and you want to make that shit as comfortable as possible!

  8. If all goes as planned you'll barely need anything. However, we ended up staying longer than we had expected and I was really happy to have the following:

    - a full set of toiletries
    - a sleep nursing bra and pads
    - an extra change of clothes and pajamas
    - my own towel
    - slippers
    - flip flops for the shower
    - some good snacks as hospital food SUCKS
    - nursing pillow (I didn't have but it would have been great)

    I'd skip all of the entertainment and relaxation stuff as you won't use it. Though my husband did go through all 5 New Yorkers that I packed for myself....

    Other than that list just the essentials (car seat, insurance, etc...)

  9. oh, and a hoodie! those hormones gave me crazy hot/cold flashes and it was nice to have my hoodie. easy to nurse with....i also had a light robe which i ended up wearing a lot...

  10. Wow. I can't speak from experience, but I would say that all you need is your bag and whatever you normally have in it (for me, that includes a motley assortment of things that get me through my regular days, including lip balm, my cell phone and a book or two). Then add the necessary paperwork, a change of clothes to go home in (for you + baby) and the car seat.

    Things I know for sure they will have at the hospital - extra blankets, extra pillows, dorky nightgowns, socks if your feet get cold, normal toiletries, even if they aren't fancy. People frequently go the hospital unexpectedly, so it's not like they think you're coming in fully loaded and ready to stay for a few weeks. They have most of what you need.

  11. Oh, yes. Water + snacks can be good. The nurses will bring you water but bottled water for Ben is good. And food is always good.

  12. Whoops. Sub Joe for Ben.

    Clearly scanning instead of checking to see who is actually posting.

    And if this is Celia posting, then are the one who DOESN'T CARRY A BAG? Because then you are kind of starting from scratch. But I guess that also means that maybe you need less stuff on a regular basis than I do. So you're good.

  13. I guess the last thing you want is to be stuck there (for whatever reason) without things.

    I have never given birth but I have been to hospital and my one essential item would be an eye mask - those places are never dark.

    [as an aside- I do use an address book but I wouldn't take it to the hospital. Are they suggesting you will be sending birth announcements from your hospital bed?]

    And really, you don't use a bag?! Where do you put your money and your phone? Although it must make life easier not to lug around so much cr*p.

  14. Everyone's advice is sound, and so is your own instinct. The only thing I'd add is that if you're there for longer than you expect, it might be awesome to have a friend be "on call" to bring you extra whatevers from home. Give that friend a spare key now, and then you'll have automatic back-up for anything you're hankering for later.

  15. I gave birth at a birth center (well, in the parking lot of a birth center...) and found that the best item my midwife recommended was a pack of Depends. Seriously. You're going to be bleeding for several weeks, and it was so nice to be able to wear the Depends and not have to worry about leaking or having to change underwear and a pad. You take them off and throw them away. It was amazing! And they are surprisingly flattering - you don't feel at all like an old woman who can't control her bladder. I was kind of disappointed when I ran out of them.

    Do bring snacks and drinks - labor uses a lot of energy. Drink a sip of water between every contraction, it really helps. Coconut water is great for re-hydrating yourself, and drinking juice after you give birth helps to get your energy back.

    Also, you're still going to look like you're about 6 months pregnant after you deliver (it takes a while for your uterus to shrink), so you do want a roomy going home outfit. And you probably do want a night gown or something that you can easily nurse in because that baby is going to want its mama around the clock and it helps to feel comfortable and be able to get your boobs out quickly and easily.

    The most important thing is to follow your own intuition and instincts. They are your best tool as a new mother and don't let anyone or anything tell you differently. If you don't think you need a thing on that list, then you probably won't. You are the source of your own best advice.

  16. When I did this post (link) I was upset with the list...and it is much longer than your list! Anyway, I analyzed it and most stuff is pretty small and doesn't take much room. We normally stay 2 nights at the hospital and honestly most items made sense (except the exercise balls because they already have those at the hospital) !!! And it all fit in the bag size that you can bring with you in a place.

    But like Jennifer said, I will also follow my own intuition :)

  17. @rachel @peacock feathers yes, it's true. unless i'm traveling, i don't use a bag. well, sometimes i do... then i realize how much i hate bags and don't try again for quite a while. that's what pockets are for! id, check card, hairband and lip balm in one pocket, cell phone and pack of gum in other pocket. i hate fuss. you SEE why this whole packing for the hospital is such a hassle for me?! knowing that i'll soon have to carry around a diaper bag makes me break out in hives. :/

  18. I've had a couple friends that had babies and when they were in the hospital they were given the BEST underpants ever. They are kind of like a cheese cloth material and they stretch out like nothing I've ever seen. Even though I wasn't the one having a baby, I convinced my friends to ask for extra pairs that I could have them. I would wear them as sleep shorts. So stinkin' comfy.

    All that was to say that maybe that is the "maternity underwear" that was on that list? Either way, I highly recommend snagging a few extra pairs of the hospital "freebies."

  19. Things I found essential:
    For me:

    snack bars (I was too buggered to eat anything more complicated)

    bananas (ditto)

    cartons of juice (the hospital provided jugs of tap water but were none too timely in refilling them. Also juice gave me a little hit of energy)

    bottles of water

    pyjamas with stretchy pants (one pair to wear during the day, another for overnight. but I was there for 5 nights. I hope you won't be)

    toothpaste + toothbrush


    baby wipes (it took me two days to bother washing)

    lots of knickers (normal, not maternity. Which are just disposable pants because they get a bit gross. But that's what washing machines are for. And strangely, I didn't much enjoy wearing disposable pants. Again, you probably don't need lots if you're not there for 5 days)

    maternity pads

    Nursing bra + breast pads (yes, you might be breastfeeding all of the time but the boob that isnt working will need supported. And although your milk might not come in straight away your boobs will probably leak colostrum and that shit is sticky. A nipple stuck to your bra is extra pain that you just don't need post-birth.)

    Sleep mask (it will really improve those 10 minutes of sleep you get between the 3am feed and the midwife coming in to check your blood pressure)

    For the babies:

    a few rompers + a few vests (they puke a lot. Right from the beginning)

    Nappies + wipes (the hospital don't provide these. I was surprised)


    A hat.

    Things I took but didn't need (among others)

    books (ha! When exactly did I think I was going to read)

    Music (I really couldn't give a shit about music when I was in labour)

    Clothes (I wore pyjamas constantly. And I went home in the same outfit I arrived in.)

    Phone & camera (too fucking tired for either)

    I wouldn't worry about overpacking if you have a car with you, you can leave stuff in the boot and send Joe back for what you need. We didn't have a car and had to carry our three huge bags (one for me, one for food, one for the babies) around from room to room as we were moved around the hospital.